Avatar universal

Teen obstanance and Parental Anger

I have a 15 year old son who is pushing every button.  He is doing poorly in school, misbehaving and choosing all the wrong friends. I have been raisng him alone for the last ten years.  I admit I'm not the best at discipline but I have been firm on what I expect.  He is a very intelligent young man and capable of passing high school.  Lately I have found myself getting more and more angry with him.  I'm loosing my patience with his behavior and lack of effort in his school work.;  He's flunking.  I am not being a good example lately.  I've lost my cool and called him a flunky.  I have beat myself up about it and could cry as I write this. I can only guess what impact calling my son a flunkey is going to have on his self esteem.  It seems though when I do loose my cool he straightens up for a while and does good.  Why do I have to go to that extreme before he listens and takes me serious?  Sometimes I feel like letting him choose his own path and laying off but then I realize I can't give up on him.  I tell him I love him every day and I think I show him 90% of the time.  I am just having a hard time controlling my frustration and anger with this situation lately.
6 Responses
203342 tn?1328737207
Don't beat yourself up. We all lose our cool from time to time and say or do things we regret. Just make it a practice to apologize to him if you do. You will teach him that you're human and about forgiveness. You should also have him apologize to you when he talks back or is disrespectful.

I tell ya, it ain't easy being a parent to a teenager! Especially being a single parent. so kudos to you for that. Teenagers are notorious for pushing buttons. That's what they do! They will constantly test the boundaries. The interesting thing is, they do feel more secure when you make clear boundaries for them. They may grumble about it and say how many friends parents let them do whatever they want, but inside they are actually relieved to have an adult in control. So don't give up! And don't be tempted to let him go his own way. This is a critical age. He needs your guidance and help now more than ever.
Pick your battles. Decide what's worth fighting for and let the rest go. If you don't like his hair, clothes, or music, let him pick what he wears (as long as it doesn't have offensive wording or is too sexy, etc.). Let him wear his hair how he wants. Let him listen to his kind of music as long as it doesn't have bad language, etc. Let him feel like his friends are always welcome in your home and keep it stocked with soda and snacks, etc. for them. At least you would know they were safe at your house!

He does need to take more responsiblility for his school work but maybe he needs some help. Talk to the teachers and your son and make sure he understands what he's doing. Sometimes when kids fall behind a little, they get overwhelmed at the thought of catching up and just give up. I don't know if that's the case here, but that's what my daughter did last year. I had to explain to her over and over that she was in high school now. The grades count. You need so many credits to graduate and if you don't have enough you won't graduate. He needs to fully understand that. Tell him it's up to him if he wants to go an extra year in high school or take summer school, but he's responsible. If he needs help organizing, help him. Most kids this age aren't real good at organizing. Get him an assignment notebook to write down all his assignments and insist that he write down each class his assignment, even if he has no homework. Check and see if the school has a website where you can see what assignments he has.

Apologize for calling him a flunky. Tell him that you didn't mean it, you are just worried about him. Tell him what you said here, that you know he's smart and capable of doing so much better. And don't forget to forgive yourself! There is no perfect parent, none. We are all on this road learning as we go. I joke to my husband that by the time we've got this parenting thing down, our kids will be grown!

Watch what kinds of friends he's hanging out with. That's partly why I suggested inviting them over to your house so you can watch them. You can't choose his friends, but you can express your concerns and why your concerned. Keep the communication lines open. Talk to him a lot! Make it a practice.

And try and remember that the teenage brain is still developing. That's why they do some pretty dumb things. They now know that the frontal lobe is the last to develop usually in their early to mid twenties. This is the area that controls impulses and decision making. No wonder our kids act so impulsive and do such dumb things sometimes! There's actually scientific proof!
It does get better. I have a 19 year old son now in college and he told me not long ago that he wished he knew then when he was 14/15, that things wern't so bad and he wouldn't have given us a hard time! He's growing and maturing and your son will too. It just takes time. Be patient. Before you know it, he'll be walking across that stage holding his diploma and smiling at you and you'll be crying like me a year and a half ago watching my baby! It will happen. You're in the middle of the storm right now. Just hang on. Before you know it, the seas will calm and you will be able to relax and enjoy your child again.
It must be late. I'm getting all philosophical, lol! I hope any of this helps. Just one parent of teens to another. Take care.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your reply.  You gave me some great suggestions and I will use them. The most important is not to give up.  He is so strong willed and at times I think I should for the sake of peace in the house but your right, I need to guide him and be the driving force in his life to make the right decisions and do well in school.  It is a never ending battle with him.  He just wants to play electric guitar and has no concern for grades.  He was failing three of four classes and has brought the grades up and now he's only failing one class.  But I will reiterate that it's his choice how many times he wants to repeat the class but he will have to pass it eventually.  I watch over him like a hawk.  I go through his bookbag when he's not around and look through his things in his room.  I'm not going to be caught blindsided with anything else like drugs or weapons.  So far theres none of that and hopefully it will never come to that.  Thank you so much for your suggestions.  I have aplogized but I haven't made him apologize which I will start making him do.  The day he walks across the stage will be the happiest day of my life.  Then I know I will have accomplished something.  I tell him all the time that an education is just about the only thing no-one can ever take from you.  I don't demand much which could be my problem but I do lean hard on school work and grades.  Up until this year he could pull off A's & B's without cracking a book.  Well,,,,,the rubber has met the road and he doesn't have good study habits to fall back on.  I could beat myself up on that too.  It's not easy but Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  I can go one more day.
Avatar universal
You are not wrong but you do need to take a big, deep breath and realize that you can't force this maturity to happen overnight. I am a widowed mom of 4 (boys grown) and my daughter just turned 14...WOW!...and I am going though MY change...YIKES!.......YOU MUST be understanding, empathetic, patient, and above all have a good sense of  HUMOR. My daughter also has acute school phbia so EVERY day at my home is like HELL but I adore my daughter and realized that screaming and yelling just does not work!!!!------------- COMPROMISE!

Ask your son(in a calm relaxing environment...no TV, PC, sterio)...what she feels is fair regarding discipline, homework-time, friends, computer/TV time and write down a weekly list. He may be to pissed off right now but tell him that you love him and you want to have a better relationshaip with him. Remind him that you are the parent and you can and will make mistakes but will love him through all of these changes and you both will survive. HE is the one with so many issues now...physical and emotionally.   Remember when we yell or put down...they 'tune us out' and push us away. Tell him every day you love him and remind him that you may get angry at him but will ALWAYS love him...My boys are in their 20' s and often say they dony know how I did it. I laugh and say it was simply lots of prayer (it works) /and laughter. I would often scream at my oldest (butt-head) son..."but mommy still loves you even if I AM a *****"...hope that made you smile ....good luck...someday you may be your sons best friend and need to move in with him when YOU are old and have dementia- and then you will need HIM to be patient, loving and understanding!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your help.  Tonight was a real test and I did take a deep breath and was able to handle the situation in a calmer manner.  I hope it gets easier.  I felt like I wanted to explode but I didn't.  I did apologize again and explained I am not perfect and it was very wrong of me to call him a flunkey.  I asked him what type of punishment he thought would be appropriate for him failing classes and he tried to manipulate the issue by saying technically he hasn't failed yet because the class isn't over for two weeks.  I reminded him that presently his grade is an F which means he is failing now. I told him he had to spend time studying or I would remove things like guitar and xbox from his room.  He stalled around and went in to the computer room and said he was studying.  As I said before I have to monitor his every move or he will try to bamboozle me, manipulate me or lie to me.  Anything but be honest and accountable.  So I calmly told him I meant he had to read and study from the book with his door open and any distractions turned off.  After working all day and doing my homework (I'm also in college) and my housework responsibilites it's absolutely exhausting.  He should be helping me and doing his work without me having to monitor his every 15 year old move.  I know he's a teenager and going through some emotional changes but I believe the defiance is a behavior he is plainly choosing and for that there must be some consequence.  Sooo, I'm sticking with it and thankfully I tonight I didn't raise my voice.  You and Angie have been very helpful.  I appreaciate your posts.  Please pray!
Avatar universal
Awesome way to keep your cool!  Remember when your son was little and everyone said "be consistent"......way to go!     I admire you for trying to get through college. It may seem like your words and actions did not matter but HE HEARD YOU.......just tried to tune you out. He should be helping you out more but hopefully he will grow up a bit and not be so selfish. Yes- I will say a special prayer for you tonight.......and for all the wonderful moms out there................We Rock!
Avatar universal
Last night was another trial but I didn't loose it.  I think I can do this. I swear that child is like a 6 year old.  What happened? I may not have been the best disciplinarian but good grief I was present and did some discipline.  Is it boys?  I don't know but where grades are concerned, I'm on him like white on rice and I'm keeping my cool about it....well, not screaming, swearing and saying things I wish I hadn't.  Taking a deep breath does help.  I've always heard that expression but never really tried it.  It works along with prayer and support.  Thanks again.  
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